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Google eats pseudo Swedish social startup

Mmmm, Ångströ

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Google has acquired the Palo Alto-based startup Ångströ, an outfit that built all sorts of apps that hook into "social" sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

In a Friday blog post, Ångströ co-founder Rohit Khare indicated that his company had been snapped up by Mountain View, and though Google has not responded to our request for comment, it confirmed the buy with The New York Times.

"While our work here may be done, the struggle for open, interoperable social networks is still only just beginning," reads Khare's blog post, "and I'm looking forward to working on that in my new role at Google."

Khare says that his company was born almost four years ago when he "set out to solve a deceptively simple problem" involving Google Alerts, the Mountain View service that notifies you when particular keywords hit the web. The problem, Khare says, was that "95% of the Google Alerts I received about the entrepreneur Adam Rifkin were about the Hollywood movie director instead."

Using this as a jumping off point, he explains, the company went to build apps that discover new photos on Facebook, use LinkedIn profiles to improve caller ID, add "style" and links to Twitter, create a "real-time" social address book, and more. The Ångströ handle is inspired by the ångström, the unit of measure named for Swedish physicist Anders Jonas Ångström. "Ångströ represents the ability to hone in on highly focused, relevant news across professional networks. Where search engines such as Google and other news aggregator services have immense infrastructures that return a huge array of random results, Ångströ analyses a wide breadth of information from multiple data sources to deliver very few, yet very intelligent results."

Ångströ is just the latest so-called social startup snapped up by Google. Last month, it acquired Jambool, an outfit that builds applications for social networks involving virtual currency and virtual goods, and Slide, another social app company. And in February, it nabbed Aardvark, a kind of social search biz.

Google has also invested heavily in Zynga, a company that does games for sites such as Facebook, and Mountain View CEO Eric Schmidt recently acknowledged that the world can expect some sort of partnership with Zynga in the near future. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is prepping a game-centric Facebook challenger dubbed Google Me. ®

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